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225 years ago in Georgia

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  • Patrick J OKelley
    Cockspur Island, Georgia 1 March 1776 In the early part of 1776 the Georgia Patriots occupied Savannah and erected two 18-pounders on a bluff that was 40 feet
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 1, 2001
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      Cockspur Island, Georgia
      1 March 1776
      In the early part of 1776 the Georgia Patriots occupied Savannah and
      erected two 18-pounders on a bluff that was 40 feet high. Any ship coming
      near them would be raked with artillery fire. They also sunk a vessel in
      the narrow part of the channel leading to Savannah, which prevented any
      large force from going to the town.
      When the Georgia Council of Safety had placed him under house arrest the
      Georgia Royal Governor escaped and took refuge aboard the British man of
      war Scarborough.
      At Savannah were twenty British merchant ships full of rice that had been
      captured by the Patriots. If these ships could be recaptured they would
      be able to supply the British army in Boston. On March 1st British
      marines landed on Cockspur Island in their first step to capturing the
      rice ships. The Marines skirmished with American militia there.
      The Americans had one wounded and the Marines had four wounded.
    • Patrick J OKelley
      Hutchinson’s Island, (The Battle of the Rice Boats), Georgia 2 – 4 March 1776 After the British seized Cockspur Island they sent ships upriver towards
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 2, 2001
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        Hutchinson’s Island, (The Battle of the Rice Boats), Georgia
        2 – 4 March 1776

        After the British seized Cockspur Island they sent ships upriver towards
        Savannah and were fired on by the town batteries on the bluff.
        On March 3rd while the British vessels stayed outside Savannah Major
        James Grant landed at Hutchinson’s Island with 300 British troops to try
        to retake some British merchant ships loaded with rice.
        The British boarded the ships at 4 in the morning and captured the crew.
        Some of the sailors were able to get off the ship and warn the Americans
        that the British were on board the merchant ships.
        Colonel Lachlan McIntosh with 300 men and three 4-pounders were sent to
        Yamacraw and they built a breastwork. The British ships, led by Captain
        Barclay on the Scarborough, moved in closer to the captured rice
        merchants. The Armed Schooner Hinchinbrook attempted to sail closer to
        the rice boats, but two companies of riflemen fired upon the ship,
        wounding several. The ship fired cannon at the riflemen, but only wounded
        one in the thigh. The Hinchinbrook withdrew to Cockspur Island. The two
        British transports, Whitby and East Florida Symmetry started unloading
        the rice into their hulls.
        In Savannah angry Whigs burned 3 British merchant ships full of rice so
        that the British would not capture them.
        Two Georgia officers, Lieutenant Daniel Rogers of the St. John’s Rangers,
        and Raymond Demeré, were allowed to board the captured merchant ships and
        demand their surrender. The two men were taken prisoner. Colonel McIntosh
        fired his 4-pounders on the ship until Captain Barclay, of the man of war
        Scarborough, agreed to negotiate.
        Captain James Screven and Captain John Baker rowed their riflemen under
        the stern of the Scarborough and demanded the return of his officers. The
        Scarborough fired on the boat full of riflemen with swivel guns and
        muskets, but amazingly only one man was slightly injured. The boatload of
        riflemen quickly moved out of range, firing their rifles as they went.
        McIntosh supported the retreat of the riflemen with his shore batteries.
        The Americans continued to fire on the British ships for 4 hours. Several
        of the British were seen to fall.
        The Georgia Council of Safety ordered the rice boats to be burnt. Colonel
        McIntosh set the Georgia merchant ship Inverness on fire and cut it loose
        to sail down to the rice boats. When the Marines saw the fireship heading
        towards them they abandoned their prizes and swam to shore, under
        constant rifle and swivel gun fire. Four of the rice boats caught on fire
        and were destroyed. The soldiers on the British Troopships panicked and
        jumped overboard, working their way through a marsh to the Marines.
        Twelve of the rice boats ran through gunfire from the Savannah side of
        the river and out to sea, only to be captured and have the rice
        confiscated by the Royal Navy to provision British troops in Boston.
        400 South Carolina reinforcements arrived, under the command of Colonel
        Stephen Bull and the British abandoned their plan to attack Savannah.
      • Patrick J OKelley
        Cockspur Island, Georgia 12 – 13 May 1776 At 11 o’clock on May 12th a raiding party of Georgians attacked the British post on Cockspur Island. They
        Message 3 of 6 , May 11, 2001
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          Cockspur Island, Georgia

          12 – 13 May 1776

          At 11 o’clock on May 12th a raiding party of Georgians
          attacked the British post on Cockspur Island. They attempted to capture
          “a White Man a Pilot & some Negroes.” They were discovered approaching
          the post and one of the raiders was killed. The Americans withdrew to
          their boat. The Royal Sloops of War Raven and the Cherokee sent sailors
          in three boats to the west end of the island to cut off any escape. The
          British sailors captured a boat and three of the raiders. The prisoners
          told the British of an armed schooner that was waiting for them up the
          Savannah River at 4 Mile Point.
          At one in the morning on May 13th the sailors from the
          Raven and Cherokee sailed up the Savannah River in a pinnace and two
          boats. Two other boats were assigned to guard Cockspur Island while they
          were conducting their attack. The British sailor easily captured the
          armed schooner. Captain John Brown had commanded the American schooner
          and had 8 men on board. In addition to the 8 man crew there was the 1
          man killed from the raid and 3 others wounded. On board the schooner
          were 6 swivel guns and 6 organs. An organ was described in the 1769
          Falconer Marine Dictionary as “sometimes used in a sea-fight by
          privateers: it contains several barrels of small arms, fixed upon one
          stock, so as to be all fired together.” This may had been an early
          version of the Nock Volley gun issued to the British in 1780.
          The schooner was sailed back to Cockspur Island. At 11 o’clock the
          British captured three other men from the raid on the island the day
          before.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Patrick J OKelley
          Howdy, From Nothing but Blood and Slaughter : In mid-October Sir Henry Clinton in New York coordinated his planned invasion of Georgia, that would utilize the
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 1, 2003
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            Howdy,
            From "Nothing but Blood and Slaughter":
            In mid-October Sir Henry Clinton in New York coordinated his
            planned invasion of Georgia, that would utilize the British and Loyalist
            forces in Florida. General Augustine Prévost was ordered to the St.
            Marys River to cooperate with an invasion fleet under the command of
            Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell. Prévost ordered his brother,
            Major James Mark Prévost, to collect cattle for the British army at
            Midway and Newbury settlements. As a diversion for this cattle raid
            Lieutenant Colonel Lewis V. Fuser was to land at Colonel’s Island and
            threaten Sunbury, fifteen miles south of Savannah. When Major Prévost
            and the 60th Regiment arrived at the Midway Meetinghouse he collected all
            the cattle he could and set fire to the buildings.
            When the British invaded Georgia there were only 200 Continentals
            in the four battalions in Georgia. Most of these men came from outside
            of Georgia. The four battalions were merged into one with the
            designation of the 2nd Georgia Battalion. Colonel John Baker and his
            Georgia Continentals were ordered to march to Midway Meeting House with
            “three days provisions of bacon & biscuit with 40 rounds ammunition
            each.”
            On 24 November at Bulltown Swamp the Georgians encountered Prévost’s army
            and fought a delaying action. Colonel Baker was wounded in the action
            but his army continued to skirmish, waiting for Brigadier General James
            Screven’s reinforcements to arrive so that they could cut off Major
            Prévost’s force.
            Hearing that Brigadier General Screven and Colonel John White were moving
            on the road between Midway and Sunbury, Colonel Fuser ordered Brown and
            his Rangers to ambush the enemy. Brown picked thirty-two men and
            intercepted Screven’s force. While Brown’s force was concealed on the
            side of the road, Screven and White halted their forces and made a speech
            about the upcoming battle. At the end of the speeches Brown ordered his
            men to fire, wounding Screven in the first volley. Major James Jackson
            was also wounded. Brown’s men captured Screven, but one of Brown’s
            Rangers shot him after he was taken captive.
            Major James Mark Prévost arrived to support the Rangers and a
            battle began on the road. Prévost’s horse was killed by a cannon ball as
            it skipped down the road, but he was uninjured. The Georgia Patriot
            militia soon left the battlefield. Prévost discovered that his force on
            the road was unsupported and he was in danger of being cut off from the
            main army, so he ordered a retreat out of Georgia. He took two thousand
            head of cattle and several slaves. Prévost sent the mortally wounded
            General Screven back to the Patriot lines under a flag of truce.
            Lieutenant Colonel Fuser landed a force of 250 men on Colonel’s
            Island near Sunbury. His mission was to march upon Sunbury as a
            diversion for Major Prévost’s raid on the Midway Meetinghouse. Upon his
            arrival he learned that two of his privateers had deserted and given the
            Patriots the alarm that he was coming. Fuser left sixty men to guard the
            naval force at St. Simon’s Inlet and proceeded towards Sunbury with 180
            men of the 60th Regiment. He mounted two swivel guns on a carriage to
            use for artillery. Along the way to Sunbury the column was sniped at
            occasionally, but did not receive any serious opposition.
            On the night of November 26th Fuser occupied Sunbury without being
            detected by the Georgians in Fort Morris. The British occupied the
            unfinished courthouse and celebrated their accomplishment with a puncheon
            of rum. Captain Wulff of the Grenadiers did a reconnaissance of Fort
            Morris, but could not find a gate in the darkness. During the night the
            defenders of Fort Morris detected the presence of the British and fired
            their 18-pounders at the campfires of the British. The British were not
            at the fires and had spent the night in six houses in the town.
            In the morning Fuser demanded the surrender of the fort, but the fort’s
            commander, Lieutenant Colonel John McIntosh, told Fuser to “come and take
            it!” Fuser was there only to create a diversion and decided to withdraw
            back to Major Prévost. As the Royal Americans left the town a detachment
            of Patriot horsemen arrived and fired a few shots, but to no effect.

            Patrick O'Kelley
            goober.com@...
            2nd Regiment of the North Carolina Line
            http://www.2nc.org/

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Jay Callaham
            ... From: Patrick J OKelley To: Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 6:36 AM Subject: [Revlist] 225 years ago in
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 1, 2003
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Patrick J OKelley" <goober.com@...>
              To: <Revlist@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 6:36 AM
              Subject: [Revlist] 225 years ago in Georgia


              Howdy,
              From "Nothing but Blood and Slaughter":

              <snip>

              When the British invaded Georgia there were only 200 Continentals
              in the four battalions in Georgia. Most of these men came from outside
              of Georgia. The four battalions were merged into one with the
              designation of the 2nd Georgia Battalion. Colonel John Baker and his
              Georgia Continentals were ordered to march to Midway Meeting House with
              "three days provisions of bacon & biscuit with 40 rounds ammunition
              each."

              <snip>

              Interesting - - so 200 men comprised FOUR BATTALIONS of Continentals? That's
              an average of 50 men per Bn before the merge - - not too far from
              reenactment unit size.

              Thanks, Patrick. I'm anxious to see the book(s).

              Jay
              Cm Gds
              4th Coy, Bde of Guards
            • Brett & Ian Osborn
              Jay and Liste- ... Continentals? That s ... Our unit adjutant posted this on our website last year: Although none of the Georgia battalions ever reached their
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 1, 2003
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                Jay and Liste-

                > Interesting - - so 200 men comprised FOUR BATTALIONS of
                Continentals? That's
                > an average of 50 men per Bn before the merge - - not too far from
                > reenactment unit size.
                >
                Our unit adjutant posted this on our website last year:

                Although none of the Georgia battalions ever reached their authorized
                strength, the toll desertion, sickness, and capture took on the
                Georgia troops was astounding. The muster rolls of August, 1779 for
                the 1st GA, 3d GA, 4th GA indicate combined strength of 73 privates,
                41 non-commissioned officers, drummers and fifers, and 44
                commissioned officers, inclusive of deserters, sick, and
                captured–-
                the actual effective strength was 9 officers, 11 non-commissioned
                officers, 2 drummers, 1 fifer, and 18 privates!
                41 guys = 3 battalions

                Now that looks like some units I've seen.

                Very Respectfully,
                Brett Osborn
                Georgia Refugees
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